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Curated research library of TV news clips regarding the NSA, its oversight and privacy issues, 2009-2014

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Primary curation & research: Robin Chin, Internet Archive TV News Researcher; using TV News Archive service.

Speakers

Michael Hayden
Former Director of the NSA and Director of the CIA
KYW 10/12/2014
Stahl: He (Michael Hayden) acknowledges the NSA program was "unarguably inconsistent" with the 1978 law prohibiting the agency from eavesdropping on Americans without first obtaining a court warrant. Hayden: it was warrantless, but not unwarranted. It would've been irresponsible for NSA not to have done this in the immediate aftermath of the attacks of 9/11. Stahl: but it was eavesdropping on Americans? That was the story. Hayden: you know, one has to choose words carefully here, all right. We were allowed to intercept international calls. Stahl: Had to be overseas. Hayden: Had to be overseas. And we already had reason to believe that one or both ends of the call were affiliated with al Qaeda. Stahl: Besides, government lawyers assured him that the president's authority as commander-in-chief trumped the 1978 law. in their view, the program was both legal and constitutional, though, he acknowledges, just barely.
Michael Hayden
Former Director of the NSA and Director of the CIA
KYW 10/12/2014
Hayden: Hey, I knew we were playing up against the line. Stahl: So, what you're telling us is that you went into this knowing that if it came out... Hayden: oh, god, yes. Stahl: ...there'd be questions of legality? Hayden: Of course, and appropriateness and abuse. Stahl: That's why you didn't want it to come out? See, that's what Jim Risen says- - you didn't want to be embarrassed. Hayden: Let me... let me turn it, okay? Jim's going to go to jail. Why? Because Jim wants to protect his sources. We're both in the same business- - you and me, Jim and me. You have sources who remain productive only as long as you can protect them from exposure. Exposing our tactics, techniques, procedures, sources, and methods harms us as much as Mr. Risen would be harmed if he were forced in court to expose his source.
James Risen
NYT National Security Journalist
KYW 10/12/2014
Stahl: General Hayden makes the argument that you didn't have the expertise or the knowledge to know the whole picture and to understand the whole picture. And I guess implicit in that argument is, "who... who the hell are you?" Risen: ( laughs ) yeah. Stahl: I’m serious. "who elected you? yeah. Risen: The whole global war on terror has been classified. If we today had only had information that was officially authorized from the U.S. government, we would know virtually nothing about the war on terror.
Jill Abramson
Former Editor of The New York Times
KYW 10/12/2014
Stahl: He (James Risen) was writing a book. And he was going to put several reports in it that his editors had killed, along with the NSA story. Jill Abramson, then the "times'" second in command, says that was a turning point. Jill Abramson: It would be potentially very embarrassing to The Times to have this big story come out in Jim's book, and our readers would feel, why was this not in "The New York Times"? Stahl: So he forced your hand? He did. Abramson: In some ways, he forced our hand. Sure, he did. Stahl: Had you fallen under the sway of the post 9/11 concerns about safety in this country, security? Abramson: I... I think that I had a bit, and I don't think I was alone. I think that the years right after 9/11 were a period when the Washington press corps-- and I put myself very much in that group-- it wasn't our finest hour. It wasn't.
Michael Hayden
Former Director of the NSA and Director of the CIA
KYW 10/12/2014
Stahl: So you would not be pursuing Jim if you had the decision to make? Hayden: Frankly, Lesley, I don't understand the necessity to pursue Jim. Stahl: you're shocking me-- that the former head of the NSA is saying that it's coming down too hard. Hayden: I’m conflicted. I know the damage that is done, and I do. But I also know the free press necessity in a free society. And it actually might be that I think, "no, he's wrong. That was a mistake. That was a terrible thing to do. America will suffer because of that story." But then I have to think about, so how do I redress that? And if the method of redressing that actually harms the broad freedom of the press, that's still wrong. The government needs to be strong enough to keep me safe, but I don't want it so strong that it threatens my liberties.
James Risen
NYT National Security Journalist
KYW 10/12/2014
Risen: We weren't revealing to anybody the fact that the United States listened to terrorist phone calls. Everybody knew that. The terrorists have known that forever. What we were revealing was that the U.S. government was violating its own laws. Stahl: Did you think that the whole program... did you think it was useless? Risen: No, I didn't think it was useless. I thought that if we are going to fight a global war on terror, we should follow the rule of law in the United States. Stahl: Risen remains at "The New York Times," still covering national security and he's written a new book. he could be called to testify about his confidential sources as early as January.
James Comey
Director of the FBI
KYW 10/12/2014
Comey: We cannot read your emails or listen to your calls without going to a federal judge, making a showing of probable cause that you are a terrorist, an agent of a foreign power, or a serious criminal of some sort, and get permission for a limited period of time to intercept those communications. It is an extremely burdensome process, and I like it that way. Pelley: That's a principle over which James Comey is willing to sacrifice his career. He proved it in 2004 when he was Deputy Attorney General. Comey was asked to reauthorize a package of top secret warrantless surveillance targeting foreign terrorists. But Comey told us "significant aspects" of the massive program were not lawful. He wouldn't be specific because it's still top secret. That was not something you were willing to stand for? Comey: No, I was the Deputy Attorney General of the United States. We were not going to authorize, reauthorize, or participate in activities that did not have a lawful basis.
James Comey
Director of the FBI
KYW 10/12/2014
Pelley: At the time, Comey was in charge at the justice department because Attorney General John Ashcroft was in intensive care with near-fatal pancreatitis. When Comey refused to sign off, the president's chief of staff, Andy Card, headed to the hospital to get Ashcroft's okay. You got in a car with lights and sirens and raced to the hospital to beat the president's chief of staff there? Comey: Yep, raced over there, ran up the stairs, got there first. Pelley: What did you tell the Attorney General, lying in his hospital bed? Comey: Not much, because he was very, very bad off. I tried to see whether he was oriented as to place and time, and it was clear to me that he wasn't. I tried to have him understand what this was about. And it wasn't clear to me that he understood what I was saying, so I sat down to wait. Pelley: To wait for Andy Card, the President's chief of staff? Comey: yeah, and then-white house counsel Gonzales.
James Comey
Director of the FBI
KYW 10/12/2014
Pelley: They spoke to Attorney General Ashcroft and said that the program should be reauthorized, and you were there to argue that it should not be. How did it end? Comey: With the Attorney General-- surprising me, shocking me by pushing himself up on his elbows, and in very strong terms, articulating the merits of the matter. And then saying, "but... but that doesn't matter, because I’m not the Attorney General." and then he turned to me and pointed and said, "there's the Attorney General." And then he fell back, and they turned and left. Pelley: You'd won the day? Comey: Yeah, I didn't feel that way. Pelley: How did you feel? Comey: Probably a little sick, and a little sense of unreality that this was happening.
James Comey
Director of the FBI
KYW 10/12/2014
Pelley: He (James Comey) left the letter on his desk, and he and FBI Director Robert Mueller went to the white house to resign. Comey: Yeah. We stood there together, waiting to go meet the president, looking out at the rose garden, both of us knowing this was our last time there and the end of our government careers. Pelley: Wasn't it your responsibility to support the president? Comey: No. No, my responsibility, I took an oath to support and defend the constitution of the United States. Pelley: This was something the president wanted to go forward with. and you were standing in front of the President of the United States telling him he shouldn't do it, and if he did, you'd quit. do I have that right? Comey: I don't think I expressly threatened to quit at any point. but that was understood. Pelley: President Bush was persuaded. The program that we've discussed, as I understand it, was in fact re-authorized, but in a modified form? It was made to conform to the law, in your estimation? Comey: yes.
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